Brevard, N.C. - Jonathan Whitson scored a game-high 32 points with 19 coming in the second half to lead four Tornados in double-digits and Brevard withstood a furious Newberry comeback to regain possession of first place in the South Atlantic Conference with the 98-84 victory.
Whitson went nine of 15 from the floor and 14 of 17 from the free throw line as well as pulling down 12 rebounds to complete his seventh double-double of the season as Brevard (18-8, 10-5 SAC) shot 55.1 percent (27-49) from the floor in the game. Josh Roper added 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Sam Carlisle chipped in with 18 points and seven rebounds, going six of eight from the floor. Nathan Whitmire added 15 points, going a perfect three-for-three from behind the arc to round out the Tornados scoring efforts.
Newbery (9-17, 4-11 SAC) was led by Ryan Barnes as the redshirt freshman hit five three-pointers on his way to a team-high 18 points. Ray Robinson added 14 points and seven rebounds, while Aaron Edwards had 13 points with nine points coming from behind the arc as the scarlet and gray converted 12 three-pointers in the game. Coleman Young and Stephane Bakinde were also in double figures for Newberry.
Brevard held the edge on points in the paint, outscoring Newberry 38-22 inside the lane and the Tornados finished the game with the edge in rebounds, pulling down 42 in the contest. Due to their late surge, Newberry forced 17 Brevard turnovers with 14 coming in the second half during the comeback.
The Tornados opened up the game with 34-28 advantage, behind the hot hand of Whitmire and Roper. Following a free throw by Carlisle, the Tornados went on a 21-2 run starting at the 4:51 mark as Brevard went up 45-30 on another Carlisle free throw with five seconds remaining in the period as the senior center had seven points in the first half.
Barnes hit a three-pointer as the clock expired off the pass from Jawuan Lockhart as the teams went into the locker room with the Tornados up 45-33.
The Tornados expanded their lead to 27 at the 11:43 mark as Roper converted the second of a pair of free throws to put Brevard up 67-40.
Newberry would stay in the game, showcasing their depth and full-court pressure by going on a 34-18 run to bring the game back to within 11 at 85-74 with 3:17 to play on a layup by Jeremee Davis.
The comeback would stall at the end as Brevard converted nine of 11 free throw attempts and Whitson added a layup as the Tornados left Boshamer Gymnasium on Wednesday night with the 98-84 win.
With the win, all eyes turn toward Saturday as Brevard hosts fellow SAC leader Catawba College with the winner of the contest winning the South Atlantic Conference regular season championship and the #1 seed at the 2010 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference tournament. Tipoff between the Tornados and the Indians on Saturday, February 27th, is set for 4 p.m.